Discover the 6 foods and drinks dentists urge you to avoid to prevent severe dental damage. Learn more and protect your smile today!

Prioritize Your Dental Health: Foods and Drinks to Avoid

With the risks of deadly viruses and unexpected diseases, it can be easy to forget about your dental health. However, it’s important to prioritize it. Studies show a connection between dental health and cardiovascular disease, as well as links to rheumatoid arthritis.

“If you don’t treat your mouth well, bacteria can grow and cause disease, and these bacteria can also cause issues in other parts of the body,” said Dr. Kim Capehart, chair of the Department of General Dentistry at Augusta University in Georgia.

Ongoing tooth pain can also impact your mental health, Capehart said. This makes dental issues something you want to avoid and treat when possible.

To keep your teeth healthy, there are certain foods and drinks that dentists say are particularly harmful. Some create a breeding ground for cavities, while others can cause tooth fractures. Below, dentists share which foods and drinks are most hazardous to your teeth and how to protect them.

1. Citrus

Citrus fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C, but their acidic nature can be tough on your teeth. “Citrus can increase the acidity levels in your mouth,” said Dr. Jossen Gastelum, a dentist in Arizona. This can lead to the demineralization of teeth and enamel damage.

2. Ice

Chewing ice can be damaging to your teeth. “The cold temperature and hardness can lead to tooth fractures, especially for those with sensitive teeth,” Capehart said. Drinking water with ice isn’t harmful, but chewing ice is.

3. Sticky Candy

Sticky candies like toffees, caramels, and gummy worms can get stuck in your teeth and be difficult to brush out. “Anything that stays on your teeth with sugar can cause cavities,” Capehart said.

4. Bread and Crackers

Bread and crackers can also get stuck in your teeth and turn into sugar, leading to cavities. “These foods become sugar that bacteria can use to damage your teeth,” Gastelum explained.

5. Soda and Energy Drinks

Soda is highly acidic, with some sodas having acidity levels close to battery acid. “Chronic soda drinkers can exhibit decay similar to those using meth,” Gastelum said. Energy drinks are also harmful due to their high sugar content and acidity.

6. Coffee

Coffee is another acidic beverage that can damage your teeth, especially when combined with sugar. Coffee also stains your teeth, Capehart noted.

Foods That Promote Good Dental Health

Thankfully, some foods can improve your dental health. Crunchy vegetables like carrots and celery help clean your teeth as you chew. Apples also fall into this category.

“Cheese is another beneficial food for your teeth,” Gastelum said. Cheese can neutralize acids in your mouth and contains calcium, which fortifies your teeth.

Beverages like water, milk, and green tea help maintain healthy acidity levels in your mouth. Tea can also be a good substitute for coffee.

Other Important Oral Hygiene Tips

In addition to brushing and flossing, you should rinse your mouth with water or a pH-alkaline mouth rinse like TheraBreath after eating or drinking. “Wait at least 30 minutes to brush to allow your saliva to buffer those acids,” Gastelum said.

“Chewing sugar-free xylitol gum after meals for at least five minutes can also help,” Gastelum added. Xylitol can inhibit cavity-causing bacteria and stimulate salivary flow.

Suggested Reading:

This post originally appeared on HuffPost.

Leave A Reply